Gulf States Suspend Aid to Jordan and PLO
THE six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council said Saturday its members were suspending millions of dollars in financial aid to Jordan and the Palestine Liberation Organization because of their support of Iraq in the Gulf crisis. "No forgiveness, no forgetting," GCC Secretary-General Abdullah Beshara, a Kuwaiti, said in announcing the move.
He told a news conference the GCC states - Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates - could not continue supporting Amman and the PLO after the two had turned against them.
"How can you justify a continuing of aid to a country that turned its back on you? There is no forgiveness for this. It is not a romance where lovers quarrel. The crime is too big to forgive," he said, referring to Jordan. Jordan was officially neutral but broadly sympathetic toward Baghdad during the conflict caused by Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait.
On the clearly pro-Iraqi stand taken by PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, Mr. Beshara said: "Mr. Arafat took a very reckless course of action and will have to bear the consequences."
The GCC states had long been the PLO's main financial backers and also provided tens of millions of dollars of aid to Jordan, where a majority of people are of Palestinian origin.
Kurds report fierce fighting
Kurdish rebels against President Saddam Hussein accused his Army of killing thousands of people while his new prime minister - speaking as though the violence was over - promised Iraqis a future of security and stability, law and democracy.
After a month of rebellion that flared after Iraq's routed Army fled occupied Kuwait at the end of the six-week Gulf war, rebels said savage fighting continued for the northern oil center of Kirkuk and other areas of northern Iraq.
"The casualty toll is unbelievable, enormous," said a Kurdish Democratic Party spokesman. "The battles have widened. They are very ferocious."
Iraq acknowledged yesterday it was still fighting rebel forces in Kirkuk. The Defense Ministry newspaper al-Qadissiyah said an announcement on military operations to crush the northern revolt against Saddam would be made "once Kirkuk is purged of traitors and foreign infiltrators."
Gaza Palestinians open talks
Three leading Palestinians from the occupied Gaza Strip have gone to Cairo to seek economic aid and Palestine Liberation Organization permission to set up a local council in Gaza City, Israeli security sources and Palestinians said Sunday.
The three backers of the PLO left Thursday.
Israeli military authorities said the trip was aimed at raising Arab money for new housing and economic development in the crowded, impoverished strip.
But Palestinians said the delegation would also seek PLO approval for one of the three, Faez Abu Rahme, former head of the Gaza Bar Association, to become mayor of Gaza City as head of a local council.
The other two Palestinians are brothers Akil Mattar, head of the engineers association, and Akram Mattar, director of an Israeli-run hospital in Gaza City.
An Israeli official told Reuters last week the government was considering making life easier for Arabs in the occupied territories. He did not give details, but Israeli newspapers reported a Gaza City council was one possibility.
Easing restrictions on the 1.75 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip could be part of symbolic confidence-building gestures the United States wants Israel and Arab states to make as a step toward peace talks. Israel lifted a curfew on the Gaza Strip and areas of the West Bank but continued to bar Palestinians from Jerusalem Sunday, the Army and police said.
The last Gaza City mayor resigned at the start of a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation in December 1987. Since then, the city has been run by an Arab city manager and Israeli military authorities.